Paradise Lost
Gothic


3.0
good

Review

by CaptainAaarrrggghhh USER (14 Reviews)
October 20th, 2013 | 36 replies


Release Date: 1991 | Tracklist


Paradise Lost is one of those bands that provoke many arguments among the metal community. Having a lasting career of nearly 25 years this British quintet was one of the first bands to play a slower, grimmer version of death metal that became known quite simply as death-doom. Paradise Lost is also often credited as the oldest band in the so-called Unholy Trinity of British doom metal bands (the other two being My Dying Bride and Anathema). But as time went one, the band explored different methods and adopted various styles, and those changes weren’t always welcomed by certain parts of fan-base.

Paradise Lost’s first album that was titled rather unsurprisingly “Lost Paradise” was an exercise of playing death metal at a slower pace and was not a big success at that. It did have a certain dark, empty feel to it, but was ultimately creatively narrow and, ironically, lost in itself, because there’s only so much entertainment you can squeeze out of a long repetitive record of homogeneous heavy music at low tempo. Although the record and continuous live sets were crucial for creating the core fan-base for the band, “Lost Paradise” is more of a historical monument than an actual musical journey.

”Gothic” is where glimpses of melody-making talent begin to show. Only glimpses for now – Paradise Lost were yet about to explore the art of combining the ugly and the beautiful – but they are present nonetheless. For better or worse those hints are sparse and for the most part the album consists of the same slowed-down death metal but now it is executed in a more intelligent way. The production, while definitely topping “Lost Paradise”, is still quite sub-par but is does somewhat enhance the atmosphere of the record. And melodic leads (courtesy of Greg Mackintosh), that pierce the record here and there, is largely what makes this record worth listening.

What also makes the record worth the time is Nick Holmes’ legendary back-in-the-day growl. Holmes has been gradually making his singing less and less aggressive over the years, explaining once in an interview that extensive growling was damaging his voice – and, evidently, his throat is much more tender than that of, say, Corpsegrinder Fisher. Only in recent years Holmes started incorporating shades of brutality in his singing again. But on “Gothic” Nick’s growls run galore – deep, menacing and definitely pissed of.

Being perfectly honest about the aforementioned “glimpses” of melodic greatness, this record only has two tracks that really show the band’s songwriting potential. Those are the title track and “The Painless”. Both are beautifully written emotional compositions that combine just the right amount of the ugly and the beautiful to make the whole thing work. Mackintosh leads are top of their game here; and both tracks employ female vocals, providing a stark contrast to Holmes’ desperate growl. There are some keyboards as well, and this extra layer of gothic sauce makes the two tracks a real pleasure to listen to. However, the rest of the album is really just more of the same old-school death-doom, with some little touches on several tracks to spice things up, and overal the material is more interesting than that on the debut.

Often hailed by metal purists as one of Paradise Lost’s crowning achievements, “Gothic” is, in my opinion, just another step to the bright future that would come a few years later. Take it for what it is and try to avoid the hype.



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user ratings (178)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
NeroCorleone80
October 20th 2013


29027 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Finally a review for this. Cant believe all the other big death/doom albums of the early 90s had one and yet this didnt when this is easily the most influential. This is def better than a 3 for me.

Wizard
October 20th 2013


19407 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Bang on review.

Also, fix the spacing in the third paragraph.

Digging: Khonsu - Traveller

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
October 20th 2013


6105 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good call for the review, pos.

Also transform the wall of text into separate paragraphs.

I disagree about this having only two good songs and that this is over-hyped. For example, I haven't listened to the album in ages, yet I can still associate myself to the Black Sabbath vibe of "Falling Forever". "Gothic" on the other hand, is the epitome of the definition "classic '90s doom/death metal".

Digging: The Sabbathian - Ritual Rites

NeroCorleone80
October 20th 2013


29027 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

The melodies on this album are so good, especially the mid guitar solo section of the title track

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
October 20th 2013


6105 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I had forgotten how good this album is.

TheNotrap
October 20th 2013


8071 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

The title track remains one of my favourite PL songs.
Nice review.

Digging: Lago - Tyranny

CaptainAaarrrggghhh
October 20th 2013


165 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Wow, never got a feedback that instantly
Thanks

CaptainAaarrrggghhh
October 20th 2013


165 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

About having only two good songs - I didn't say that. I say that those two songs really show things that hint on Paradise Lost's future melodic greatness.

scissorlocked
October 20th 2013


3510 Comments


slays hard

KILL
October 20th 2013


71795 Comments


actually prefer shades

Digging: Invisible - El jardin de los presentes

DrHouseSchuldiner
October 20th 2013


5643 Comments


awesome album

manosg
October 20th 2013


6093 Comments


Good choice for a review. I can't believe this one didn't have one already. Of course pos.

"But as time went one, the band explored different methods and adopted various styles, and those changes weren’t always welcomed by certain parts of fan-base."

Wasn't that the case for all bands of the Unholy Trinity?

Digging: John Coltrane - Ballads

CaptainAaarrrggghhh
October 20th 2013


165 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well, PL are kinda-sorta getting back on the old-school track with their latest efforts. They are even re-redording tracks from the first two albums. MDB never cared for a change except this one time with the ''33,788%... Complete" record (which I really like for what it is) but ultimately they are staying within the borders of the moniker. Anathema is the only band that has abandoned it's past completely. And Anathema-the-alternative-rock-band really sits with me.

CaptainAaarrrggghhh
October 20th 2013


165 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

By the way, I personally also prefer Shades to this one, it holds up better as a whole to me

manosg
October 20th 2013


6093 Comments


Like Gods of the Sun was also tamer than their usual material but overall you're right, they didn't stray much from their roots. Regarding Anathema, even though I prefer their 90s material, I'm content with what they do nowadays.

CaptainAaarrrggghhh
October 20th 2013


165 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I dig Anathema's doom efforts, but it was quite evident they weren't fully comfortable with the style. As a doom metal band I think they were not fully on par with PL and MDB. Although they had their moments of brilliance within the genre, like "A Dying Wish".

psyclonus
October 20th 2013


130 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is the only PL album i ever listen to. love his vocals on this one

Digging: Wolf - Devil Seed

EvoHavok
October 20th 2013


1379 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pos! I was listening to some Icon and Draconian Times tracks a few hours ago. I should get this as well.

Digging: Pandemonium - Insomnia

NeroCorleone80
October 20th 2013


29027 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

SHADOWS APPEAR AND FAAAAALL

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
October 20th 2013


1877 Comments


Nice review. For me, "Gothic" is a legacy rather than a mere album. I say that because, alongside albums such as "Bloody kisses" and "Turn loose the swans", the whole idea of deeply brooding "Gothic" music perfectly fused with heavier sounds, it had a definitive style of music that could be described as such. It's by no means imperfect, and PL surely has a few albums which instantly surpass "Gothic" in terms of quality, but this album is most definitely career-defining for the band, in that they knew where their sound was going.

Digging: Pallbearer - Foundations of Burden



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